Understanding Islam and Muslim Militants
1. What is Islam?
- Islam is: Submit to God. ‘Islam’ means submit to His will and guidance, as enunciated inside the holy Quran. Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians all are told in their religious scriptures to submit to the will of God. Here is the teaching in Bible, Gita, and other religious scriptures, as well. We must surrender towards the will of God. Thus with this belief, there is no alteration in all religions around the globe — except Buddhism, which won’t believe in existence of God.
*’Islam’ is a verb — to ‘submit’ to the will of God; but usually, it is linked with militancy, albeit wrongly. The moderate Muslims, that are in majority, have chosen not to condemn militants or their violence, from fear or for awkward.
2. Muslims believe in monotheism
* Muslims believe in one God. Christians, Sikhs too have confidence in that. Hinduism believes in multiple Gods along with a section of Hindus believes in Idol worship. Islam is against idolatry but Quran will not ask its followers to make use of violence against Kafirs, as idol- worshippers are known as in Islam. Quran does not ask its followers to enjoy violence against non-believers, as militants do.
- In Islam, polytheism, association of Allah with another god, or denial of His absolute command of universe is sin and called Shirk. Islam and Christianity differ in this connection. Christians associate Christ with God, as son of God and Muslims don’t concur.
*Surah 4:116, 121: ‘Surely Allah doesn’t forgive that anybody needs to be associated with Him on near equal footing… and whosoever associates a partner with Allah, he indeed strays off into far error.They are they, whose abode is hell, and so they shall not find any refuge as a result.’
3. Convey message of Quran, along with force conversions
Excerpt from Quran:
*Surah 3:20: Therefore if they dispute with thee, say: I submit myself entirely to Allah so does he who follows me.” And inform those who have been given the Book and to those who are unlearned (those who don’t believe in Quran): “Do ye (also) submit yourselves?” If they submit then they will be in right guidance, in case they turn back, thy duty is merely to convey the Message.
*Surah 2:256: Let there be no compulsion in religion
*Surah 109:6: For your requirements be your religion, in my opinion mine.
4. As a result it is clear that Quran doesn’t ask its followers to transform non-Muslims to Islam against their will. History lets us know otherwise. Why it’s extremely? It is a corporate decision, to enhance the revenue collection in mosques. Religious preachers usually are not much bothered about qualitative improvement of followers, these are interested in numbers.
*A recent great example is of a Shankracharya — a top-notch Hindu religious figure — who may have tried to belittle, Sai Baba of Shirdi, a historical figure with big Hindu following. His temple is amongst the richest temples in India. Shankracharya desires that idols of Shirdi Sai Baba needs to be removed from Hindu temples. Could possibly be Shankracharya is holding Shirdi Sai Baba, responsible for poor offerings or donations at other Hindu temples.
5. Does Quran justify violence?
Quran supports violence only when, the Muslim community is fighting vastly superior forces, seeking to annihilate the monotheistic Islam. The Quran puts it this way in Surah 4:75: And shouldn’t you fight in the reason behind God and in the cause of those who, being weak, are mistreated: the men, women and children whose only cry is, “Our Lord! Deliver us out of this land whose people are oppressors. Send us somebody who will protect us, and send us somebody who will help!”
* Development of Israel after Second World War would be a decision where Palestinians were required to vacate and make area for Israel. They were weak along no choice but to agree. Muslims feel that this is a case where Surah 4:75 is applicable. It is a debatable question, nevertheless it needs attention.
6. Suicide-bombers aren’t approved by Quran
Hadith — the novel of religious guidelines for Muslims — states ‘Whosoever kills himself at all will be tormented in the same way in Hell. If he kills himself by blade or iron rod, is going to be tormented with same blade or iron rod within the fires of Hell ‘. Life’s the ultimate gift of God, only They can decide when to go on it back.
7. Steps to counter or curtail militancy in Islam
(a) Educate women. Illiteracy is incredibly high among Muslim women. There’s a need to ensure equality of genders among Muslims. In under-developed countries, situation is worst. Women aren’t allowed to attend school. In Nigeria, Boko Haram will not allow Western education. Women are not allowed inside mosque in some sects of Islam. Educated Muslim women could have positive impact in society.
(b) Starting point — tackle intra-religion violence. Recent Sunni terrorists attack on Shias in Iraq is often a glaring example of hatred between different Islam sects. You will find there’s need to create awareness among Shia and Sunni Muslims about futility of killing the other person. There are many other sects, that are ostracised by both Sunnis and Shias, for instance, Ahmadiyya sect.
(c) Proactively explain Quran through media to counter fundamentalists. We need to publicise excerpts from Quran in the news, to counter militants violence and also to educate illiterate Muslims world over, who will be being brain- washed by orthodox fundamentalist clerics like Hafiz Saeed. We depend upon religious teachers (Imams and Ayatollahs) for interpretation of Quran. They can misuse the privilege and issue ‘fatwas’ against Salman Rushdie while others. To indulge in violence when a prophet is subject of caricature, is just not what religion teaches us. You have to learn to be loving toward others’ views. If properly put across, the Muslims militancy will probably be contained. Till then, let non- Muslims refrain from commenting upon the prophet and prevent hurting Muslim sentiments.
(d) Divisive religion-based politics is bane to democracy. Religion should unify humanity, where by it divides more recently. Democracy needs votes. Appeasement of majority in Islamic States and minorities in secular states like India can be a misuse of democratic process of voting and elections. How can it’s stopped is a big question plus a challenge to humanity.